September 26, 2021

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Tamil Nadu’s opposition to NEET

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Tamil Nadu's opposition to NEET

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Several parties have been opposing the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) across Tamil Nadu since 2017. The opposition started after the death of the NEET aspirant who secured well in boards but not in the NEET examination back in 2017.

Reason for Opposition

The state of Tamil Nadu opposed the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) claiming that the students who have passed their class 12th from the CBSE board have an advantage over the students who have passed their class 12th from the state board. The issue has been raised by many political parties across the country.

The National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET), was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2013. But soon it was restored in April 2016. The Supreme Court dismissed the verdict, allowing the Centre and the Medical Council of India (MCI) to conduct the common entrance test. In 2016, a bill was passed in response to petitions from the state of Tamil Nadu, giving a one-year exemption from NEET for government colleges exclusively.

Admissions via NEET: Right or Wrong?

Tamil Nadu has been using the class 12 board exam as a criterion for medical college admissions before NEET. Tamil Nadu changed its basic state board syllabus in 2018 and began using new textbooks. An examination of the NEET question paper, which includes multiple-choice questions with negative marking in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, revealed that the revised textbooks covered 97 per cent of the questions in 2020.

According to data from the Medical Council of India in 2019, one in every eight physicians in India comes from Tamil Nadu. When professional courses were first launched in Tamil Nadu, there was no Common Entrance Test (CET), but in May 1984, a government decree established CET for medical, engineering, agriculture, and other fields. The state of Tamil Nadu formed a committee to evaluate its impact in 2006, and based on their findings, the CET was discontinued since it favoured city students with access to private coaching. With NEET, the same argument has been made.

M Chatriyan’s Case

The strong opposition to NEET stems from the hardship of poor kids like Chatriyan from Tamil Nadu’s hinterlands, who then compete with urban and affluent students from all across the nation who have more resources to pass the test. NEET, like any other test, is tainted by the tragedy of students killing themselves.

Chatriyan is a Dalit student from the Ariyalur area of Tamil Nadu, which is underdeveloped and where people rely on agriculture and employment in cement plants. His family, too, ran a cashew business from agricultural grounds, but when he was a youngster, his parents went into debt and became coolies. He only got 99 out of 720 on his first try a few months after finishing his board examinations in 2018. Chatriyan claims that students in his locality are unaware of the test format and lack the facilities to prepare for it. Neither the school teachers nor the students had any awareness about the exam. In NEET, the cutoff for the SC/ST category is 42 per cent or a score range of 147 to 113. Chatriyan had passed with the bare minimum, but it wasn’t enough to gain admission. In his next 2 subsequent attempts in 2019 and 2020, he improved each time, earning 216 and 265 respectively but yet was unable to seek admission.

This year on 12 September 2021, M Chatriyan will be appearing in the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) as his fourth attempt. Despite his family’s inability to afford such time and money, his desire to become a doctor has kept him trying.

Politics involved behind it

NEET was opposed by Chief Ministers M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa. NTA does not have statistics on the arrangements of medical college admissions, different sections use different data to support their claims. The BJP, Tamil Nadu’s sole pro-NEET political party, portrays a different image. According to the state BJP general secretary, just 100 students from government schools were admitted to MBBS for ten years (2007-2017) before NEET.

The Madras high court denied the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) appeal against the Tamil Nadu government’s plan to form a committee to investigate the impact of the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) on socially and economically underprivileged medical students in July 2021. In Tamil Nadu, NEET has become a touchy subject after numerous medical students committed themselves. Before entering the state in 2017, it had to go through a series of legal wranglings. MK Stalin, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, chastised the BJP for backing the government’s stance on NEET in the legislature but then launching a judicial challenge.

Conclusion

Since the NEET examination was reintroduced in 2016, the state of Tamil Nadu has been opposing the decision ever since then. The state says that the students from the cities and studying in private coachings have more advantage over the students coming from rural areas. Because of not being able to get admission in medical colleges suicide rate in students has also increased. It is a sensitive issue for the state and also became a political issue overall.

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